Category Archives: Justice

Who’s afraid of Sherry Rehman?

Raza Rumi

Express Tribune: It has been rather disturbing to witness the way Sherry Rehman has been the latest target of the purists within the ruling PPP. For years, Sherry has represented the intellectual vigour within her party. From drafting of manifestoes to holding the important portfolios, she has been an articulate defender of the PPP and its government. Her decision to resign in the wake of the judges’ saga and media handling of the 2009 Lahore-Gujranwala Long March was a matter of democratic choice.

After her resignation, she did not defame her party leadership and continued to demonstrate her loyalty. She is now a victim of an unwise ban on PPP leaders and legislators preventing them from appearing on a particular television channel. Worse, she has been lumped with the other dissenters — Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi — whose politics is altogether different. Continue reading

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Filed under Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan

Asma Jahangir’s victory is a cause for celebration

Raza Rumi

Asma Jahangir’s victory in the Supreme Court Bar Association elections is a major development in the legal and judicial history of Pakistan. She is the first woman to hold this office, and a progressive rights activist as well. Her struggles against injustice, discrimination and oppression have spanned over nearly forty years and are globally acclaimed. PTH wishes her all success and hopes that she is able to fulfil the mandate for which she has been elected: To transform the apex Bar into a professional, neutral and non-partisan body and operating at a healthy distance from the judges. At last some sanity might prevail. This take by lubp is worth a read.

I took the picture on the right after the victory and Asad J with the winnersmore can be found here

We are also posting a well considered view from HRW below:

Pakistan: Prominent Rights Advocate to Lead Supreme Court Bar

Asma Jahangir’s Election an Advance for an Impartial Judiciary

(New York, October 28, 2010)—The election of a prominent human rights activist to the presidency of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan   is a victory for human rights in Pakistan and for the country’s transition to genuine civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today. The election of Asma Jahangir on October 27, 2010, will make her the first woman to lead the country’s most influential forum for lawyers. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Lahore, Law, lawyers movement, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, movements, Pakistan, Rights

Supreme Court short order out …

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

… And thank god that they have not dabbled in that horrible theory of the basic structure which would have meant closing the door on any future prospect of democratic reform in Pakistan (in my personal view).

I think this is an important middle ground which has atleast restored some of the faith I had lost in our judiciary to do the right thing.

Now it is upto the democratic government to meet the judiciary half way. Continue reading

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Filed under Constitution, Democracy, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan

Islamic Laws and Women:Why Reinterpretation is Needed

This is an intelligently argued article sent to us by Miss Kiran Rizvi. She rightly argues that laws are eventually an outcome of the peculiar circumstances of the prevalent time period. Therefore laws have to be judged in the context of those circumstances. This way of  looking at the laws also makes it essential to rethink the current interpretation which is rooted in those times. Miss Kiran’s  argument is that the spirit of Islam itself provides justification for reinterpretation  of the laws, particularly those which pertain to women.

by Kiran Rizvi

Contrary to the popular belief Islam neither favors nor victimizes women. What I mean by this is that Islam doesn’t go out of its way to hurt or protect women because of their special status in the society. The current interpretation of Islamic laws is more consistent with the circumstances and laws prevalent in the 7th century Arabia. Therefore it affords the same treatment of compassion to ALL members of the society which are disadvantaged, such as slaves, orphans, women and seniors. However no special treatment is given to women outside the general category of the ‘disadvantaged’.

Feminists believe that Islamic laws are barbaric and demeaning to women. They site divorce laws, rape laws, bearing witness, wife-beating, unfair distribution of property and lack of autonomy to make decisions etc. to make their case. They are correct and incorrect at the same time. Islamic laws are a combination of tribal laws as they existed (and were well accepted in the society at the time) and some modifications brought out by Islam to steer these laws in favor of those who ended up holding the short end of the stick. It is not the “Islamic” portion of the tribal laws that is barbaric, but the “tribal” portion of the Islamic law! And yes, it is very hard to distinguish one from the other.

Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Justice, Pakistan, Society, Women

Judicial Activism and Orientation: A Mixed Blessing

The current situation with respect to Judiciary merits several questions. Is there any scope for Judicial activism or Parliament should have the sole supremacy?  Assuming there is some scope (either through constitution or due to “necessity”) what are the desirable limits from political cum social point of view? What explains the current conservative orientation of the Judiciary? Was the lawyers’ movement a just cause or a vehicle for reactionary elements to direct the country towards further conservatism? What problems can occur due to the current ongoing tussle between Government and Judiciary?  This article tries to analyze the above questions.  

By Raza Habib Raja

Right now the country is embroiled in a rather destabilizing controversial tussle between increasingly hyper active judiciary and Government. Judiciary is actively pursuing a policy of activism as compared to judicial restraint and even 18th amendment which had unanimous support of political parties is right now under review and during session the remarks of the honourable judges are indicating that Judiciary may clamp the wings of the parliament.

Judicial activism obviously stands for an active court which is not exercising judicial restraint and is quite ready to even enter into the reign of executive and in fact even at times policy making domain. An important component is of judicial review through which courts can review and decide whether a certain act passed by the legislative is unconstitutional or infringes basic rights of the people. Another related issue is the Judicial orientation ( i.e. whether judiciary is ideologically moving towards liberal or conservative side).

 The ongoing judicial activism is difficult to be categorized as “good” or “bad’ mainly because it is trying to affect complex and at times interconnected variables in our society. The perception about it will also vary from person to person depending on his/her OVERALL political orientation.

Within liberal community the opinion is somewhat divided but most are worried due to a string of recent decisions regarding banning of websites and releasing of controversial individuals like Hafiz Saeed. Those who support it are also cautious as Judiciary while cracking on corruption is also veering towards reinforcing conservatism. The role of Lahore High Court is particularly a cause for concern. In my personal opinion while there is some limited scope for judicial activism but at the same time the judicial orientation is a cause for concern. On the good side Judiciary is instilling a culture of some accountability but on the flip side it is also showing strains of excessive activism and increasingly conservative orientation.

The current situation merits several questions whch have been outlined in the introductory part of the article. Let’s try to evaluate these Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Pakistan

Death of Collective Wisdom

Another exclusive post from Ahmad Nadeem for PTH – comments are welcome (Raza Rumi)

“Is there a competition going on in Pakistan between institution to earn shame and notoriety for their nation?” my colleague asked me casually while we were having some drinks and watching a news television. “We are on that path for last 40years”, I answered stubbornly. Can there anything such shameful to force you behave that stubborn over your national pride? There is, hold your breath, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the top body of media and custodian of ‘freedom of speech and civil liberties’, in a press release issued by its Secretary General, Mr Shamsul Islam Naz, has “officially’ appreciated the blocking of the Facebook Website.

This was followed by the Lahore High Court orders of a blanket ban on entire social media website depriving 2.5 million Pakistani’s an access to major internet services.  Just because there was ‘one page’ out of millions, set by a silly American kid to make cartoons of  Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The same could have been blocked instead, but things work differently in Pakistan. A decision has to be popular rather than sane, the illiterate bearded men on streets with sticks and guns ought to be satisfied. Continue reading

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Filed under Judiciary, Justice, Media, Pakistan

Our Inner Demons

By Adnan Syed

It has been 30 years since Pakistan took the fateful steps of sponsoring the Jihad on a state level. The fight against the Russian aggression in Afghanistan was probably justified. It was a blatant attack on a sovereign nation by a teetering super power. However when Pakistan went on to label the fight as a state sponsored Jihad, flock of die hard Islamists started congregating in Pakistan to fight the godless communists. This was precisely the turning point in Pakistani history when all the internal confusion of Pakistan’s relationship with Islam translated into a thoughtless action by the state that still haunts us to this day.

We can blame General Zia-ul-Haq or Jamaat-e-Islami, or our dreaded indescribable “establishment” for pointing out the path of state sponsored armed Jihad. General Zia and his protégés have already begun feeling the stiff verdict that history has begun recording in its annals. Yet, the conflict was the physical manifestation of Pakistan’s unresolved relationship with Islam. This confusion was fully exploited by Al-Qaeda, Afghan-Jihad oriented splinter groups, and their affiliates in Pakistan. As an internally bankrupt USSR retreated from Afghanistan, the Jihad slowly turned towards the West, the infidels and the vague alliance of Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and the Hindus).

Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, FATA, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, psychology, Religion, secular Pakistan, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism